Previous post:

Next post:

The benefits of urban trees

by Mel Starrs on April 15, 2009

in Psychology & Marketing

I’ve been on a bit of a nature/biodiversity tip recently. Here’s a great list of reasons why trees should be included in urban design – some common sense, some more unusual – from the Forestry Commission’s London Region Trees and Design Action Group report “No Trees, No Future” Trees in the Urban Realm.

Environmental

  • Reduce localised temperature extremes (The Urban Heat Island)
  • Provide shade, making streets and buildings cooler in summer
  • Help to improve air quality by reducing dust and particulates
  • Improve environmental performance of buildings
  • Help to reduce traffic noise, absorbing and deflecting sound
  • Help to reduce local wind speeds
  • Increase biodiversity and provide food and shelter for wildlife
  • Assist in land remediation
  • Reduce the effects of flash flooding by rainfall interception

Social

  • Improve the quality and perception of the urban environment
  • Create community focal points and landmark links
  • Create sense of place and local identity
  • Benefit communities socially by instilling higher public esteem and pride for an area
  • Positive impact on both physical and mental health and well being
  • Positive impact on crime reduction
  • Improve health in the urban population

Economic

  • Have the potential to increase residential and commercial property values by between 7% to 15%
  • Improve the environmental performance of buildings and therefore the economic performance through reducing heating and cooling costs
  • Can provide mature landscapes that confer a premium for development sites
  • Assist the appreciation of property values proportionate to their scale as they grow larger
  • Creating a positive perception for prospective purchasers of property
  • Enhance the prospects of securing planning permission
  • Improve health in the urban population, thus reducing healthcare costs
  • Provide a potential long term renewable energy resource

For all the references, and loads of guidance download the 60 page pdf (including case studies) here. And it looks like the guidance could be taken on by DCLG in the future, so worth getting to know.

The one which really jumped out as being counterintuitive to me was the “Positive impact on crime reduction”. Surely thieves can hide behind trees?

Turns out studies (pdf, 25 pages) report: “Residents living in “greener” surroundings report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less aggressive and violent behavior”.

Fascinating. Turns out dense vegetation causes fear of crime, rather than crime itself.

hat-tip to Hattie Harman for alerting me to the report in her excellent Footprint blog over at AJ.

  • http://www.treesforcities.org Joe

    Trees for Cities have undertaken our own research and the evidence does show that greenery and trees have a positive impact on levels of violent crime and fear of crime.

    We plant around 400 urban trees and 10,000 whips each year so are doing our bit to help!

    We’re currently running a campaign to raise money for street trees. Have a look at our campaign micro-site at http://www.treesforstreets.org

  • http://www.treesforcities.org Joe

    Trees for Cities have undertaken our own research and the evidence does show that greenery and trees have a positive impact on levels of violent crime and fear of crime.

    We plant around 400 urban trees and 10,000 whips each year so are doing our bit to help!

    We’re currently running a campaign to raise money for street trees. Have a look at our campaign micro-site at http://www.treesforstreets.org

  • Pingback: Estudos e Boas Práticas « Conexão()

  • Pingback: Estudos e Boas Práticas « UrbScape()